MEDIA RELEASE: Detention of Senator Nick Xenophon is Gross Abuse of Power And Violation of International Protocol

I condemn in the strongest terms the detention of Australian senator Nick Xenophon at the KL International Airport who is said to be a security threat and branded an “enemy of the state.” The allegations are completely without foundation.

I would like to remind Prime Minister Najib Razak that he has no right to treat visitors as enemies of the state merely because they are critical of his UMNO led administration. Malaysia does not belong to UMNO. It belongs to all Malaysians regardless of political affiliation.

While it is true that Senator Xenophon has raised concerns about the probity of our coming general elections, he has neither violated any written law nor conducted himself in a manner which may be constituted as a threat to our security. Furthermore, he is here to be joined later by other Australian lawmakers for talks with us as well as officials of the Election Commission. These reasons cannot be grounds to black list him.

This act of detention and proposed deportation for partisan political reasons is therefore a gross abuse of power. It is also clearly a violation of international protocol in the treatment of visiting law makers from abroad, particularly from member countries of the Commonwealth.

Senator Xenophon must be released immediately and allowed to enter the country without further hindrance.

Anwar Ibrahim
16th February 2013

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